June 13, 2010
Itapua--Friends and Ruins, with pix this time!
After our border drama (see previous post), we were excited to arrive at Norberto, Julie, and Timmy's home to deliver the blankets they'd bought and have lunch together. They are currently hosting two interns, Zach and David, so we met them and heard about their adventures in mission-land. Julie and Norberto had prepared quite a feast for us, and we REALLY enjoyed the fellowship and the meal. We spent a couple of hours (not nearly as long as we'd have liked) hanging out there, then rushed off to the ruins before the sun went down. I'm not sure how we got that sunray on Julie's face for the photo, but she is a ray of sunshine anyway. The little fellow in between me and the Kurrle's son Timmy, is their neighbor, Fabian.
The Jesuit ruins in eastern Paraguay are quite spectacular. We visited the Trinidad Mission in Itapua. Thousands of natives lived in these communities that the Jesuit priests operated, and there they escaped slavery while learning to read and write, to farm, and to live in a community. We were so impressed by the size of the buildings and the beautiful statues and carvings. Many of the statues were missing heads, which, rumor has it, were stolen to be sold, some of them on eBay. The sun was going down as we arrived, so we had spectacular views. I guess you know that sunsets in Paraguay can't be equaled.
(SIDENOTE: My one-sentence description of the rich history surrounding the Jesuit Missions doesn't even begin to do the story justice. I recommend the movie The Mission with Robert DeNiro, which I found too bloody for the kids, by the way. The actual account of how these brave priests protected and cared for the natives, often to the point of giving their own lives, is really spectacular.)